Movado Watches a History of Stylish Innovation

The luxury watch brand Movado has a long and highly illustrious history. The company was founded in 1881 in La Chaux–de-Fauds, Switzerland by Achille Ditisheim. Within a mere 8 years Movado watches were starting to gain awards and the company invested heavily in research and developed the ground breaking Polyplan watch in 1912. This top winding wrist watch was not only one of the first bespoke wrist watches but was renowned for its movement which was built over three Figure 1planes allowing it to fit into a superbly curved stylistic elongated tonneau case. By the 1930s Movado was producing some absolutely stunning art deco design watches often marketed by top retailers retailers. A nice example of this was their truly lovely art deco drivers watches (Figure 1) produced for and signed Tiffany & co. These tank watches were equipped with the top end Movado 440 15 Jewel chronometer grade movements and were designed such that the case extended to outwardly curved flexible lugs allowing the watch to either be worn normally or on the side of the wrist when driving. These watches in good working order are increasingly hard to find and as a consequence are highly sought after by collectors.

By the 1940s Movado’s position as a leading designer of cutting edge watches was assured. However, ever an opportunist retailer the company moved on to market the now famous Nathan George Horwitt designed museum watch. This watch was initially designed for Vacheron & Constantin-Le Coultre in 1947, but Movado copied it in 1948. The watch was revolutionary in that it consisted of a black face with a single dot at the 12 o;clock position representing the sun at its meridian. Even today the design is striking, but in its day it caused a considerable stir. So much so that in 1969 it became the first watch to be exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This resulted in the watch subsequently being sold by Movado as “The Museum Watch”.

Figure 2Figure 3Movado’s innovation was not limited to fashionable designs, by the 1950s, and 1960s Movado was making the Kingmatic automatic watch (Fig. 2). However, even with these watches Movado added little touches to the design of the movement, such as lightweight cut out rotor blades based upon the Movado logo (Fig. 3). That these were never seen by the wearers of the watch is beside the point, it reflects the companies tremendous attention to detail.

Movado is still in operation today. It was bought by Gedalio Grinberg 1983 and is currently run by his son Efraim Grinberg. Movado now concentrate on the production of luxury quartz based chronometers.

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